Sunday, July 26, 2009

Mario Batali's Other Job

Why didn't I see this before? For the last 6 years Mario Batali has been moonlighting as an actor, playing Berta, the fat, cranky, sarcastic maid on Two and Half Men.

I dare you, DARE you to prove me wrong:

Man that guy is huge.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Review: Mojo's Express Grill

"We have Chinese restaurant. No business. Too many Chinese restaurant. What do stupid American want?"


"Stupid American want taco. Stupid American want French fry. We make new restaurant. Taco, French fry!"

And so was born Mojo's...Though I'm probably pretty far off.

Mojo's is a Mexican place next to Wal-Mart in Islandia, off Vets Highway. Mojo's looks like a Chinese place. It has a Chinese-style paper menu. Chinese-style price listings behind the counter. And it's run by Chinese people. But it serves Mexcan food.

And for some reason most of the combo meals come with French fries. And and the place sells hot dogs!

How can Butter Lover not love a place like this? Well, because it sucks.

Trust me, I want to root for a Mexican place that is run by Chinese people and serves fries and hot dogs and wings and a lot of other crap that doesn't make any sense. I love that. I want to root for this place, but the food just isn't any good. At least the Mexican stuff.

I've been there a few times. First a couple years ago, again a few days ago. On the most recent trip I got the taco combo with fries and the nachos grande with grilled chicken and cheese.

The tacos were OK. Very Old El Paso, home-made tasting.

The nachos were aw-ful. First, they crammed the nachos into one of those styrofaom Chinese food boxes, so the chips steamed inside and got soft. Second, the cheese sauce was bland, and the nachos were drowning in it. I'm sure the nachos would have been better without it. The black beans looked gross.

Believe it or not, the best thing was the fries, after I threw some salt on them at home. Crispy and not bad. Probably dredged in corn starch.

Poor Mojo's. I want to root for them, but I'm not a fan.


Interior shot (don't know the ppl-but this does answer the question
"do chicks grow up to look like their moms?"...that butt is starting to get a little big)

Taco combo with fries and nachos

2 1/2 out of 5 stars


1826 Vets Hwy

Islandia, NY 11749

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Consultant for Hire

Something I was thinking about when I posted my review of Island BBQ & Grille (which I was reminded of by the comments) was that it would be so easy to improve the food there.

Cooking ribs is all about technique. And it takes time to do it right. I can't guarantee there would be more business, but at least the food would be better and more authentic, and people like me would give it better reviews.

So, Butter Lover is offering his services as a consultant for hire to any restaurant owners who wonder if they are serving the best food or could improve the quality of their food. If there are any takers, shoot me an email at

Saturday, July 18, 2009

File This Under: WTF Were You Thinking?

As I've said before, one of my favorite food programs is Colameco's Food Show. Good inside info.

I was watching the episode the other day and saw this:

What the f*ck is that thing on his face? Why would he possibly think it looks good?

He looks like one of those guys who stand outside elementary school playgrounds in an overcoat, asking if the kids can guess what's in his pocket. Get rid of that thing!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Review: Out of the Park Burgers

Went to the Def Leppard/Poison/Cheap Trick concert at Jones Beach the other day, which was great. For a pre-concert meal we hit Out of the Park Burgers in Central Islip. I guess the idea of this place is that you get food there and take it to Citibank Park for a Ducks game. They put all the food in brown paper bags.

The food is average and overpriced. Like Bobby Flay's burger place they sell everything separately so they can bend you over and screw you. A single burger with cheese is $2.99. A double with cheese is $3.99. Fries are $1.99 (I think) and onion rings are $2.49. You have to ask for ketchup, which they hide in little plastic containers behind the counter.

The burgers are OK. The onion rings are crunchy but bland (and there aren't many). The chicken sandwiches are decent. The wings ($4.99) suck. The menu is pretty basic. Besides the stuff I mentioned, there are hot dogs, chipotle burgers, a couple salads.

The food isn't terrible (over all), but there isn't much for the price. We all ate our food, which was $28 and change for 3 of us, then asked each other "Did we just eat?" Because it sure didn't feel like it. So we spent another $28 or something for a second round and finally got filled up.

I think the building used to be a Starbucks. So there isn't a lot of room to sit inside. There are a couple tables outside. But, again, I think the idea is you take the food to a game.


One round of food

Interior shot

Postscript. The concert was awesome. I took some pics and videos just for memories. But in the middle of Hysteria one of the loser event staff told me to put my phone away (not like a thousand other people weren't doing the same thing). Yeah, I'm gonna sell my short, crappy cell-phone videos for a million bucks. So just for that I'm posting a video of Poison singing Fallen Angel:

2 1/2 out of 5 stars (for fast food)

Out of the Park Burgers
(What I'm calling the) Target Shopping Center on Carleton Avenue
Central Islip, NY


Saturday, July 04, 2009

The Best Nachos on Long Island--Review: California Cactus Cafe

IMO the best nachos on Long Island are from a Mexicano place in a little, crappy strip mall in Bohemia. The California Cactus Cafe.

The California Cactus Cafe is like a lot of the small, non-chain, Mexican places on Long Island--they have an open kitchen, so you can see them cook and put the food together. Most, if not all, of the stuff is made on-site and fresh.

The burritos ($6.75 to $8.25) are good and typical of those small, better Mexican places. The wife loves the tropical chicken wrap ($8.25) and the portabella chicken grill ($8.95).

The tamales (chicken) ($6.95), which they run out of sometimes, are all right. They're kind of bland and soggy when you get them but are better the next day after they've dried out a bit. At least they are fresh tamales (as far as I know).

But the best thing about the place is the nacho platter with chicken ($6.99). The chicken is shredded and mixed in a thick red chili sauce. The nachos come with refried beans, jalapenos, salsa, sour cream (yuck), and a cheese sauce--which I don't think you need, but the wife likes it. Put the nachos with chicken on your lap, open a cold beer, and you're set.

Some pics:

Nachos with chicken


Bad picture of the portabella chicken grill

4 out of 5 stars (for Mexican)

California Cactus Cafe
3320 Vets Hwy